Petersburg Pilot -

Harbor opens monday Boats must meet new electrical requirements


The borough will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony next week to commemorate the grand opening of the North Harbor.

Harbormaster Glo Wollen said, for her, it’s the culmination of years of hard work.

“To some it’s only been a winter project, to others it’s been a large part of our life,” Wollen said.

She said staff has had to leap over a number of hurdles to bring the new float facility to fruition—one of which is a new federal mandate that requires all marine electrical service to have ground fault interruption protection (GFI) on individual services in a marine facility.

Wollen said the requirement is an attempt to reduce stray current in the harbor that, over decades, damages the harbor facilities and boats.

“There is natural electrolysis, natural current energy in the water itself and the tide and movement all that kind of stuff, but when you start putting vessels that have electric currents on board them running through it tends to want to ground into our system and it tends to accelerate the problem,” Wollen said. “In the long-run this GFI is a good thing. It is going to protect human lives. It also will help protect our facility and the boats.”

All boats will now have to have a mechanism in place to ground current to the vessel.

“It will keep the stray current on board versus trying to ground into the harbor facility which will cause a trip because stray current is the issue,” Wollen said. “Every single boat will be different.”

She said although the borough isn’t responsible for bringing boats into compliance, it will provide information for boat owners to get the job done.

Boats will begin filling up stalls in the North Harbor on Monday where staff will be available to help with any electrical issues.


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